Here’s a great article on this subject by one of my favorite writers, H. L. Mencken. I agree with him mostly and would add my own suggestion as an alternative to prison—public humiliation. Men will die before they’ll be disgraced. Shame is what keeps us in line, not the law. I suggest convicts be forced to wear a sandwich board with their crime written on it, and wear a dunce cap while being paraded around town for a few weeks in chains. Everyone loves a parade! And just think of the money we’d save. Prisons are expensive! I’m not so sure what to do with heinous criminals. What would you suggest?
Article is from Lapham’s Quarterly, Volume 11, Number 2, Spring 2009.